THE STORY OF SWANSEA RFC
IN THE 1875-76 SEASON
Playing Record : P11, W3, D6, L2.
Captain: C.C. ‘Charlie’ Chambers
Swansea’s very earliest games were played on the Bryn-y Mor field which was opposite the Uplands hotel (illustrated). When the field was required for housing development, the club moved briefly to the Primrose Field near Constitution Hill and then to St Helen’s for the start of the 1875/76 season.
As the playing record shows only 11 games were undertaken in the 1975-76 season illustrating the lack of opposition in the early years of Welsh Rugby. Of these fixtures, no less than five were played against Llandovery College, the others being against Glamorgan (Cardiff), Llanelli and Newport. A report in The Cambrian on 18th february 1876 tells of two matches played by Swansea on the 12th Feb 1876 (not 5th as listed below – Fixtures subject to change….). In the first and main game, Swansea beat Llandovery College at home whilst on the same day they were able to field a second team who played Llanelli at Felinfoel and held them to a draw. This is the earliest example of Swansea fielding a second side which practice continued with the formal recognition of a Second XV at the AGM in 1880. The Llandovery game was described as being played “…on the Swansea ground at Constitution Hill” which refers to the Primrose Field ground evidently still hosting some games. In the second half swansea had to “play uphill” referring to the awkward lay of the land there.
The home game v Llandovery College on November 13th 1875 was the first match played by swansea Rugby Club at St Helens. Another milestone this season was reported in The Cambrian of 3rd December 1875 when the newly formed South Wales Football Club (predecessor of the W.R.U.) played their first ever game and A.H. Richardson of Swansea became the first player to score a try. The rugby match, played at Castle Green, Hereford on November 27th 1875 between the South Wales and Hereford Football clubs was won by the South Wales team by one try to nil. “The try at goal, entrusted to Chambers resulted in a poster”. C.C. Chambers was the current Swansea captain (1874-5 & 1875-6). Richardson went on to captain Swansea in 1879-80. E.M. Jones and F.F. Meager also represented Swansea in the side.
1875-76 FIXTURES & RESULTS:
30th Oct – Llandovery College (A) drawn.
13th Nov – Llandovery College (H) drawn.
4th Dec – Llandovery College (A) Llandovery won by 1 goal.
11th Dec – Glamorgan Football Club (A) swansea won by 1 try.
5th Feb – Llandovery College (H) swansea won by 1 goal & 1 try.
5th Feb – Llanelli (A) drawn.
17th feb – Newport (H) drawn.
26th feb – Glamorgan Football Club (H) Swansea won by 3 goals & 13 tries.
4th March – Llandovery College (A) drawn.
7th Mar – Llanelli (H) drawn.
18th Mar – Newport (A) Newport won by 1 try.
from Cambrian – 7th Apr 1876
It is recorded that H E Sutton was the first Swansea player to break a leg in a game when Llanelli were played on 7th March 1876. The extreme rough play of early matches made tactical play almost impossible with ‘mauls’ lasting many minutes and being little more than muddy fights on the goal line. The high proportion of drawn games emphasises this early trend.